WORKING WITH SONO
This 72-min documentary shows behind the scenes footage of the filming, giving us some details – for example, it took 21 days to shoot, at the end there was over 35 hours of material – while letting us see how Sion Sono works on set. That can explain some the criticisms made in the previous article.
It must be said, it’s not anti-commercial documentary a la Fucking Kassovitz, apparently the shooting of Himizu went smoothly, with some real intense moments for the two leads. And this is really praising Sion Sono’s work, with actors saying how much they love working with him, trying to meet his expectations – if he doesn’t say “OK!” after each take, it’s not satisfying – plus some comments from the director of this making-of, about why Sono made certain choices, or the fact he keeps running (funny) on set…
There’s no word from the technicians, only actors telling they love the freedom allowed by Sono. Who is basically really focused on the emotions of the actors, he’s often seen giving short instructions to them – “Be more emotional!” – but doesn’t tell them where to stand, what to do exactly. That is to say, the camera is constantly trying to adapt to what actors are doing – it’s not the other way. From one take to another, it can completely change, visually. What matters is the performance.
Another important point, the ad-libbed moments. In Himizu, many dialogues and scenes weren’t in the script, or were slightly different. For example, the main character being completely covered in mud, that was Sono taking advantage of the poor condition of the set; the painted-face was added during filming; same thing for the last scene, or the shots in the middle of the ruins – Sono got the idea after talking to one of the technicians, who lost his house in the tsunami.
On set, Sono’s style creates a sense of urgency, with highly emotionally involved actors – Fumi Nikaido seems really confused, like she’s going through an identity crisis! It’s a freestyle filmmaking working around the emotions – which are often over-expressed, explaining the bold & provocative approach. That’s exactly where it would have been interesting to know details/stories from the crew – what do they think about the acting freedom, how does it affect their work and so on…